Cyclamen is one of the cutest flowers to bloom in fall and winter.
Core Cyclamen facts
Name – Cyclamen
Family – Primulaceae
Type – spring bulb
Flowering – November to March
Height – 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 cm)
Exposure – part sun
Soil – light and well drained
Care, planting and watering will help you make it bloom year after year.
- Read also: Keeping your cyclamen all winter long
- Read also: Growing ivy-leaved cyclamen, the Naples cyclamen
It is recommended to plant cyclamen tubers end of summer or beginning of fall.
Plant each bulb 3 to 6 inches (10 to 20 cm) from the next and bury them more or less 1¼ to 1½ inches (3 to 4 cm) deep.
It can be set in a pot, garden box and also in semi-shaded flower beds.
In any case, only superficial cover is needed for the bulb, with garden earth mixed with soil mix.
For cyclamen purchased with flowers already, check that there are new buds forming, this will ensure the blooming will last longer.
Sowing is quite easy. Simply recover seeds when the capsules open up and put them in nursery pots with soil mix.
- Beforehand, you can soak the seeds for several hours in warm water to speed germination.
How to settle cyclamen indoors
Favor a luminous spot but not in the path of sunrays.
Avoid having nearby heat sources, such as radiators or a South-facing window.
The ideal temperature is around 65 to 70°F (16 to 18°C).
Cyclamen can’t stand heat. It appreciates cool evenings.
With these growing conditions, your cyclamen will bloom from September up to the month of May.
- A video with advice on how to care for cyclamen
Pruning and caring for cyclamen
Remove wilted or yellowing flowers regularly (deadheading).
For that, remove the entire stem that bears the flower, rotating it just a bit in your hand and tugging it off with a sharp pull.
This twisting and tugging step is required because if a portion of the wilted stem remains, it might rot and make the bulb rot.
- To have spectacular blooming, add flower plant fertilizer once a week.
Wait for the soil to have dried thoroughly between 2 watering sessions, and avoid any excess water that might drown the plant.
Watering 2 or 3 times a week should be enough.
Natural watering when it rains should be enough, except in case of strong heat or long-lasting dry spells.
What to do after the blooming
At the beginning of spring, the plant will enter a dormant phase.
It will be possible to have it bloom again in the following fall, if you keep the bulb at rest during the summer.
- For that, store it in a dry place that is rather cool and dark.
- As soon as the weather starts turning cool, generally in September or October, it should start blooming again.
Common diseases and issues that affect cyclamen
Cyclamen leaves dry up
- It’s a bit as if they were burnt. This means there was too much sun. Protect your plants from the sun’s rays.
- If your plant looks sad, it is either due to excess watering or to nearby heat sources such as radiators.
Cyclamen leaves turn yellow
- Add fertilizer, this is most certainly connected to lack of nutrients.
Leaves are spotted
- Probably due to excess moisture. You must be careful not to wet either the leaves nor the flowers of the cyclamen.
Leaves lose their shine
- If they look a bit pale, remove wilted flowers as they start to wither and provide fertilizer once a week.
Learn more about Cyclamen
But Cyclamen is also connected to another “Mary” person in history: the virgin Mary.
- Did the Virgin Mary grow Cyclamen on her windowsill, too?
Certain Cyclamen varieties are used to produce fragrance that is added to perfume. It has a delicate, watery feeling that is similar to the refreshing effect a slice of cucumber has on a hot summer day.
Today, the scientific name, “Cyclamen”, comes directly from Latin. The “cycle” part of the name refers to the near perfect circle the flowers show when they’re lifted up. It actually comes from Ancient Greek, “κύκλος“ or “kuklos”, which also means cycle. In many languages, the scientific name is used for the plant even in common language, which is rather rare!
Interestingly, in some areas of Greece, some recipes call for cyclamen leaves to be filled with delicious stuffing. But be careful! Cyclamen tubers are toxic!
- Planting bulb plants
- Keeping your cyclamen all winter long
- Growing ivy-leaved cyclamen, the Naples cyclamen
Credits for images shared to Nature & Garden (all edits by Gaspard Lorthiois):
Cyclamen with a black background by Beverly Buckley under Pixabay license
Cyclamen ground cover by JacLou DL under Pixabay license